Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vinayagar Sathurthi Celebration in Singapore

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple is one of the oldest temples in Singapore and administered by the Ceylon Tamils in Katong area along the Ceylon Road. The history of the Temple began more than 150 years ago - in the 1850s - with the discovery of a statue of Lord Vinayagar by the side of a pond. A Chempaka tree, Senpaga in Tamil, stood on the bank of the pond and gave the identifying element to the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple.

2010 Vinayagar Sathurti celebration at the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple was staged for a week in a grand scale.Apart from religious events, cultural and exhibition on Hinduism in Singapore were also organised for the benefit to the devotees.

Vinaygar Sathurthi day (11th Sept 2010) religious functions had started early in the morning aroung 5.30am with Abhishekham to the Moolavar. This was followed by Ganapathy Homam in the morning (this was repeated in the evening). Abishekham to Pancha-muga (five faced) Ganapathy was also conducted in the morning and afternoon.

Temple Sivachariayars conducted the Ganapthy Homam and Othuwars sand thirumurai songs beautifully. During the Homan Ganapathy was worshipped in two ways: Vimbam (fire) and Kumbam. Homam materials were offered to sacred fire which was kept alive with pouring ghee and conttinuous chanting of mantra was carried out by the Brahmin priests. Hundreds of devotees participated in the proceedings with devotion and deposited the homan materials into the sacred fire in a orderly manner. Finally Pooranaahuthi was offered by the chief priest. The kumbam water is energised through the sacred thread connection from Homa Kund to the Kumbam.

Following the Homan, the hundreds of devotees carried milk-pots of different sizes to perform Pancha-muga Ganapathy (Utsava Moorthy) abishekham at the Vasantha Madapam. Hindus whole-heartedly believe that milk abishekham to the deity will increase the health and life-span of the devotees. Continuous stream of devotees participated in the abhishekham and Lord Ganapthy had a satisfied milk abhishekham. During the abhishekham, othuwars continued to sing appropriate thevarams to the delight of the devotees who are familiar with thevarams.

Following the milk abhishekam, Lord Ganapathy had abishekham with many items such as milk curd, tumarid, honey, sugar case juice, king coconut water, orange juice, cooked rice, vibuthi, sandle-wood paste and flowers. Poora Kumbham with energised water from the Homam was brought on a procession and Lord Ganapathy had abishekham with this water and this was the highlight of the abishekham.  

Pancha Muga Ganapathy was then  given beautiful alankaram (dressing-up) by the priests. Priests conducted puja and archani to the deity with sacred mantra and this was followed by arati to all five-faces of the Lord Ganapathy in unison. Othuwars sang Pancha Puranam and the proceeding was ended with sacred flame circulated to the devotees. The homam and abishekham were repeated in the evening followed by Lord Ganapathy's procession inside the temple.

See the youtube posting on abhishekam

The contribution of the young volunteers (in organising temple proceedings, helping the priests and temple adminsiatration) and ladies in the kitchen (in preparing the prasadam, cooking food for annathanam and distributing food) are much appreciated by the devotees and the temple administration. Hindu temples around the world offer many opportunities to all aged groups independent on their knowledge of religion to carry out the self-less service to the community.

The sacred Hindu scriptures emphasise that the karma yoga without any recognition is one of the ways to achieve  liberation of the soul from the cycle of birth and death. In the true spirt of religious upliftment, competition and jealousy must be avoided in Hindu temple organisations. Temple priests, instrument players, workers, volunteers and devotees must be happy at all times. Many devotees come to the temple to download their problems and to energise thier hopeMany devotees choose to serve the community without ego without holding any positions in the temple committees. Those who wish to participate in the tempel committees first decide whethet they have approprite mental capacity, time, skill, experience and religious knowledge. Community service should not be past-time job and need full committement. Our community deserve more than what is offered now in many temples.


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